For me, fall is bittersweet. I love getting into new routines with work, back to school and kid activities, while enjoying the beautiful colors, but I really love being with my kids in the summer and soaking up their laughs, smiles and curiosity.
Teaching my kids about nutrition and how their bodies can react positively or negatively depending on what they eat is very important to me. I love their vitality which I appreciate when their body is nutritionally supported with REAL food.
Real food provides our body with the fuel it needs to nourish, grow, develop, think, and repair. It is a real healing power.
As we prepare to get our kids ready for school by making sure they have new clothes, supplies, and hairstyles, in a rush we can overlook the most vital part of back to school – the nutrition.
Below are 5 back-to-school nutritional tips that have helped my kids improve their health, reduce colds and flus in the fall, and keep them energized throughout the day. I hope your children can feel the benefits as well.
1. Make sure your children drink enough water.
Dehydration can overload the system. Our thinking becomes cloudy, energy decreases, cellular activity becomes sluggish, and elimination stagnates. Sending your kids to school with 1-2 bottles of water a day is one of the easiest and healthiest options. Adding freshly squeezed lemon and lime can add flavor and aid digestion.
2. Give your kids probiotics
80% of our immune system is located in our gut; the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria is reversed so quickly with sugar and processed foods. Adding probiotics to your child’s daily routine through fermented foods, kefir, or a probiotic supplement can have positive effects on mood, sleep, and healthy immune system function.
3. Nutrify your child’s brain with fish oils or fresh fish
Each cell in our body is surrounded by a layer of fat, so it makes sense to make sure that we are consuming sufficient amounts of good fats on a daily basis. Adding them to your child’s day can benefit energy, focus, metabolism, mood, and the immune system. Fish or fish oil in particular is rich in omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is essential for brain and eye development. Although you can find omega-3s in plant sources (avocados, chia, hemp, nuts and seeds, etc.), the evidence indicates that we are not able to convert them with great efficiency to EPA and DHA. However, if you and your children are vegans or vegetarians, any fat is better than no fat and alternative sources are always beneficial for everyone.
4. Increase your children’s fiber intake
Simply put, fiber helps maintain our good bacteria, which helps us absorb food more efficiently, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, produce vitamins, and keep our “plumbing” functioning optimally. Children may not realize that shedding less than 1-2 times a day is constipation. Fiber in the form of colorful fruits and vibrant vegetables as well as chia, flax or hemp hearts are ideal and will certainly have a positive effect on the body.
5. Make sure children get enough sleep
Growing children need sleep… even if they will beg you to disagree with you! It is vital for their mood, behavior and attention. Children aged 6 to 13 need approximately 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. To help your children get a good night sleep, instill a regular bedtime routine, make sure that the computer, television, video games, and cell phone are out of your child’s bedroom, and that the room is as dark as it gets. Essential oils, like lavender, can help release tension and allow relaxation as well.
By using these back-to-school nutrition tips, you can set the tone for the school year and support your child’s health, happiness and success. I wish all the children a wonderful first week back to school!